EPL

'Kelleher will start EFL Cup final', says Klopp

By Sports Desk January 21, 2022

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stated that Caoimhin Kelleher will start for the Reds in next month's EFL Cup final against Chelsea, fitness permitting.

The Irish goalkeeper is the understudy to Alisson at Anfield, but has played in three of their five EFL Cup games this season, including Thursday's 2-0 semi-final second leg victory at Arsenal.

Kelleher has played 15 times in all competitions for Liverpool, with former Republic of Ireland international Shay Given recently suggesting that the 23-year-old should leave the club to seek regular football.

However, Klopp insisted before the first leg against Arsenal that the EFL Cup was "his competition" and explained that Alisson only played in last week's 0-0 draw at Anfield because the Brazilian needed "rhythm" after a spell out with COVID-19.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League, Klopp was asked whether Kelleher would retain his place for the Wembley final on February 27, to which he replied: "Caoimh will play, if he is fit.

"We consider Caoimh as an outstanding goalkeeper and we want to keep him here, and to keep him here you have to make sure a few things.

"It is all about how you perform, and if he didn't perform the way he did I would maybe see it differently. He shows that he deserves all the trust and faith we have in him.

"I don't see any reason why Caoimh won't play. He deserves it, he brought the team there."

Klopp was also effusive in his praise for Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose two assists for Diogo Jota in the win against the Gunners took his tally for the season to 14 in all competitions.

In the top five leagues in Europe, only Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (18) has more, with the German having played four more games than Alexander-Arnold.

"I don't know anyone who is like Trent, who is a right-back and is that decisive," Klopp said. "On the bus on the way home the television is on and you hear people talking and they say 'yeah defensively he is not that good'... honestly I thought he played outstandingly well defensively last night.

"[Gabriel] Martinelli, we will talk about this player in the future. If he avoids major injuries he will have a proper career, so he's really good and what he did there against [Alexander-Arnold] and how he kept him busy defensively and where he showed up and all these kinds of things... the [overall] package of Trent is insane.

"It's not that he delivers every day, there are still departments where he can improve and has to improve and we work on that... he still has 15 years or whatever to play, to create and to score and to learn and to improve. The last five years were a good start in the career I would say."

Related items

  • Europa League final: Rangers' presence highlights the many links between host city Seville and Scottish football Europa League final: Rangers' presence highlights the many links between host city Seville and Scottish football

    Wednesday's Europa League final is set to attract over 150,000 Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers fans to Seville, despite well under a third of that total having tickets.

    With neither club having won a continental trophy since Eintracht lifted the UEFA Cup in 1980, this final has truly captured the imagination of supporters who certainly wouldn't have had grand expectations of getting this far.

    But for Rangers especially, there's an air of destiny about their journey to the final – or, more specifically, host city Seville.

    While perhaps not obvious, Scottish football can claim several football links to Andalusia's capital.

    Perhaps Rangers' passage – and potential victory – were meant to be…

    Sevilla's Scottish roots

    These links go back as far as 1890, when a group of British men in Seville celebrated Burns Night by founding Club de Football de Sevilla.

    Edward Farguharson Johnston of Elgin and Hugh MacColl, from Glasgow, were among the club's founders, with the latter appointed as Sevilla's first ever captain.

    Sevilla's founding and debut match were first described in The Dundee Courier six weeks after that fateful Burns Night, with Recreativo Huelva their opponents in the first official match ever played in Spain on March 8, 1890. Sevilla won 2-0.

    While Recreativo were Spain's first sports club, the match against Sevilla makes Los Nervionenses – whose Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium provides the setting for Wednesday's final – the oldest club dedicated solely to football in the country.

    And it's partly thanks to a Glaswegian.

    Betis' homage to Celtic

    A Spanish man named Manuel Asensio Ramos studied in Scotland as a young adult, taking on Celtic as his adopted club while he was there.

    He later returned home to Spain and became one of the founding members of Real Betis, who subsequently donned green and white stripes as a tribute to Celtic from 1911.

    Celtic had changed to their famous hoops eight years earlier, but the link was set in history.

    Five years ago, Betis briefly switched to hoops for a match against Malaga to celebrate Andalusia Day, with Celtic communicating their delight at the club choosing "to wear the hoops for their special day".

    The Bhoys from Seville

    Of course, 2022 isn't the first time one of the Glasgow giants has been in Seville for a European final.

    Nineteen years ago, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final, facing Jose Mourinho's Porto at the Estadio La Cartuja on the outskirts of the city – that is also the location of Rangers' 'fan zone' this week.

    'The Bhoys from Seville' was the nickname bestowed upon Celtic for the trip, with the tag a pun on their 'the Boys from Brazil' moniker.

    Celtic ultimately lost 3-2 via the silver goal rule in extra time, but the occasion is still widely remembered fondly by the club and supporters, 80,000 of whom were said to be in Seville for the festivities.

    Fans of the club were widely commended for their behaviour in the city, with UEFA and FIFA later awarding them Fair Play Awards.

    Glasgow returns the favour

    Four years after Seville played host to Celtic, Glasgow welcome Sevilla and Espanyol for the 2007 UEFA Cup final.

    Hampden Park was the location of Sevilla's second successive triumph in the competition, beating their LaLiga rivals 3-1 on penalties after a gripping 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.

    Despite Celtic's links to Betis, it was widely felt by Sevilla fans in attendance that Bhoys supporters were cheering on Los Nervionenses, while Rangers aficionados adopted Espanyol as their team.

    Dani Alves was the only Sevilla player to miss his penalty, while Andres Palop in the Andalusians' net made three vital saves.

  • Saka 'can't believe' how bad Arsenal were in Newcastle defeat Saka 'can't believe' how bad Arsenal were in Newcastle defeat

    Bukayo Saka says he could not believe how badly Arsenal played in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United that will surely cost them a Champions League place next season.

    A win at St James' Park on Monday would have moved the Gunners back above fierce rivals Tottenham into fourth place heading into the final day of the Premier League season.

    Mikel Arteta's side failed to rise to the occasion on Tyneside, though, as a Ben White own goal and a late Bruno Guimaraes strike left them shell-shocked.

    Spurs will realistically only need a point against already relegated Norwich City on Sunday to qualify for the Champions League due to a far superior goal difference to Arsenal, who are host Everton on the last day of the campaign.

    The Gunners only had one shot on target as Newcastle dominated and are seemingly destined for the Europa League again next season.

    England winger Saka says they only have themselves to blame.

    "Overall there is huge disappointment and frustration," he said. "I just can't believe how we performed.

    "We lost all our duels. We lost all the second balls. We didn't play out well. Just overall disappointment in every aspect."

    Saka says the loss was hard to take, but Arsenal must regroup before facing the relegation-threatened Toffees.

    "I think it’s going to hurt a lot of us," Saka added.

    "You know, all of us, the fans – all of our families. But come Sunday against Everton at the Emirates we're going to be there to win, and hopefully things go our way. That's all you can do from now.

    "Technically it's not over, we can still do it, but we've missed out on two big opportunities to put ourselves in a good position. So it's just a shame."

  • Mbappe to Liverpool? Klopp rules Reds out of move for PSG star Mbappe to Liverpool? Klopp rules Reds out of move for PSG star

    Jurgen Klopp is interested in signing Kylian Mbappe, but accepts Liverpool are not able to compete with Real Madrid for the Paris Saint-Germain forward's signature.

    Mbappe is due to be out of contract with PSG next month and revealed last week he is close to making a decision over his future.

    Madrid are the strong favourites to sign the France international, while a number of other clubs – Liverpool among them – have also been linked in the past.

    According to reports from Spain this week, Liverpool made a late attempt to persuade Mbappe to make the switch to Anfield, rather than the Santiago Bernabeu.

    But while Klopp is a fan of Mbappe, he insists Liverpool have no intention of attempting to sign the 23-year-old in the next window.

    "Of course we're interested in Kylian. We're not blind," he said ahead of Tuesday's crucial Premier League clash with Southampton.

    "I have nothing to say about [the reported contact] between Kylian and Liverpool... it's all fine.

    "We like him and if you don’t like him then you have to question yourself. But we cannot be part of these battles; there must be other clubs. He's still a great player."

     

    Mbappe has scored 36 goals and provided 21 assists for PSG this season, firing the Parisians to the 10th Ligue 1 title in the club's history.

    His total of 57 goal contributions this season can only be bettered by international team-mate Karim Benzema (59) among players in the top-five European leagues this season.

    He has been involved in 245 goals in all competitions since his PSG debut in September 2017, which is at least 98 more than any other player for the club over that period.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.